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Arizona Democrats call Republican border bills an illegal stunt

Legislative Democrats say their Republican colleagues are pulling an unconstitutional stunt by passing immigration bills that would make it a state crime to cross Arizona’s southern border illegally.

“Texas is defending itself, and this bill will enable Arizona to defend itself at the border,” Rep. Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale) said. 

He’s sponsoring one of three bills that copy parts of a Texas law the U.S. Department of Justice argues is unconstitutional. 

The Texas law is similar to Arizona's own infamous 2010 immigration policy, SB 1070. Key provisions of that law were thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that Arizona has no right to enforce federal immigration laws.

The other bills are sponsored by Sen. Janae Shamp (R-Surprise) and Rep. Steve Montenegro (R-Goodyear). They did not respond to a request for comment.

Chaplik, Shamp and Montenegro’s bills all passed their first hearings on party lines and have several Republican co-sponsors.

Democrats accused Republicans of posturing, knowing the bill won’t be signed by Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs.

“This is not serious policy. Texas is going through it. It’s going through the courts, and yet rather than really addressing the questions and the issue at hand, we bring this up knowing full well what the outcome is going to be,” Rep. Marcelino Quiñonez (D-Phoenix) said.

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Camryn Sanchez is a field correspondent at KJZZ covering everything to do with state politics.